Nets Actually Criticize Biden Approving ‘Minor Incursion’ By Russia into Ukraine

You know Joe Biden really stepped in it when even the network newscasts heaped criticism on the geriatric president. On Wednesday evening, all three evening news broadcasts were flabbergasted over Biden’s comments during his press conference where he seemed to suggest it would be ok if there was “a minor incursion” by Russia into neighboring Ukraine. 

On ABC’s World News Tonight, senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce opened the segment airing the jaw-dropping statement from Biden where he said he would be ok with a “minor” Russian incursion into Ukraine, in response, she remarked “that answer raising eyebrows” before airing an exchange between Reuters reporter Alexandra Alper and Biden:

ALPER:  Are you saying that a minor incursion by Russia into Ukrainian territory would not lead to the sanctions that you have threatened or are you effectively giving Putin permission to make a small incursion into the country?

BIDEN: I think we will if there’s something that is–that where there’s Russian forces crossing the border, killing Ukrainian fighters, et cetera, I think that changes everything. But it depends on what he does.

Minutes later, anchor David Muir took over and immediately when to his senior foreign correspondent, Ian Pannell for his reaction to Biden’s comments, and it did not disappoint: 

I think there were many gasps of breath here in Kyiv and across European Capitols when the President said that he thought that perhaps Russia would cross that border. In other words, that Russia would invade.

Meanwhile, on CBS Evening News, anchor Norah O’Donnell brought on chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan to break down the international and diplomatic fallout from Biden’s gaffe.

Brennan came right out of the gate warning “Russia’s going to pounce on that phrase during diplomatic talks which are set to begin Friday.” She warned, “this could be interpreted as minimizing the type of attack or putting limits on what the U.S. may do.”

NBC Nightly News was no better for Biden with anchor Lester Holt bringing on chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel to wonder if “officials in this country and very likely in Russia tonight are wondering did President Biden just give Vladimir Putin a green light to launch an invasion into or around them?”

This is stunning candor from the networks. The networks must’ve known there was no way to hide these comments from their viewers, so they were forced to report on them. We applaud them regardless. 

To read the transcripts of the relevant portions of each segment click “expand”: 

ABC World News Tonight

1/19/2022

6:36:10 PM

MARY BRUCE: The President also predicted that Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine. Reporters pressing him on how he would respond.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Russia will be held accountable, if it invades, and it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, et cetera. But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the force of mass on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia.

BRUCE: That answer raising eyebrows. 

[Cuts to video]

ALEXANDRA ALPER:  Are you saying that a minor incursion by Russia into Ukrainian territory would not lead to the sanctions that you have threatened or are you effectively giving Putin permission to make a small incursion into the country?

BIDEN: I think we will if there’s something that is–that where there’s Russian forces crossing the border, killing Ukrainian fighters, et cetera, I think that changes everything. But it depends on what he does.

(…) 

6:38:53 PM

DAVID MUIR: And President Biden also making news on Russia, on Vladimir Putin, with thousands of troops, of course, amassing on the Ukraine border. Let’s get to our senior foreign correspondent Ian Pannell in Ukraine tonight. Ian, you were watching right along with us. And the President making news at first when he said he believes Vladimir Putin will act, will make a move there in Ukraine, but then dialing back when he was continued to be pressed on this issue, saying he doesn’t believe Putin has made up his mind and global headlines tonight about whether or not the President left any kind of window there depending on the kind of incursion we might see.

IAN PANNELL: Yeah, I think there were many gasps of breath here in Kyiv and across European Capitols when the President said that he thought that perhaps Russia would cross that border. In other words, that Russia would invade. He left it open as to whether or not it would be a major incursion or a minor incursion, but he also nodded to significant differences within NATO European allies as to how to respond. There are clear diplomatic difficulties. A President doubling down, saying, yes, Vladimir Putin hasn’t made up his mind, also saying that there would be strong punitive sanctions imposed on the Kremlin if, indeed, that is what they chose to do. Worth adding that the Kremlin has repeatedly denied that it plans to cross over the border. But it puts everyone in a difficult position ahead of these tough negotiations when the pressure is really on. Secretary of State Blinken is in town. He’s been meeting Ukrainian officials. That’s going to be a difficult moment for him when he goes onto Europe, but crucially, he goes to Geneva on Friday to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. That will certainly put something of extra pressure on trying to reach some kind of accommodation with the Russians. David?

CBS Evening News 

1/19/2022

6:38:02 PM

NORAH O’DONNELL: Well let’s bring in our chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan. So, Margaret, the President spoke about consequences for Russia. But then he said it’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion. What did that mean?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Norah, Russia’s going to pounce on that phrase during diplomatic talks which are set to begin Friday, because this could be interpreted as minimizing the type of attack or putting limits on what the U.S. may do. The President seemed to be trying to say that the U.S. will alter its response, depending on the scale and the scope of Russian aggression, which could be a cyberattack, or seizing territory, or an invasion. 

NBC Nightly News 

1/19/2022

7:07:49 PM

LESTER HOLT: President Biden also making news tonight on Ukraine, predicting a Russian invasion. Richard Engel is there with the latest.

RICHARD ENGEL: Even as U.S. Officials warn Russia now has enough troops in position to invade Ukraine, President Biden today appeared to suggest if Russia does a partial incursion, the U.S. could live with it.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Russia will be held accountable, if it invades, and it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, et cetera. But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the force of mass on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia.

ENGEL: President Biden warned a significant Russian invasion, a massive operation would trigger devastating economic consequences.

BIDEN: If they invade, they’re gonna pay. They’re not going — their banks will not be able to deal in dollars.

ENGEL: But even when pressed, President Biden repeated that he sees a difference between a small and big military incursion in Ukraine and that he expects one.

BIDEN: My guess is he will move in. He has to do something.

ENGEL: There is only one part of this country where Russia could launch a small incursion that could be in any way ambiguous. It’s in the far east, where pro-Russian separatists already control enclaves. And officials in this country and very likely in Russia tonight are wondering did President Biden just give Vladimir Putin a green light to launch an invasion into or around them? Lester?

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